Venomous Creatures - INSECTS
Puss Moth Caterpillars (Megalopyge opercularis) eventually grow into flannel moths. While it is a caterpillar, it is about 1 inch long, with a fat humpback. It is covered with brown hair that lays down all over its body like fur. Many of these hairs have poison glands underneath them. Touching this caterpillar causes a VERY painful sting. Quickly wash the sting area to remove any left-over spines. This poison protects the caterpillar from birds, lizards, and cats.
Io Moth Caterpillars (Automeris io) are 2 to 3 inches long. They are bright green with lots of green spines. They have pink and white stripes on their sides. The spines can really sting if you touch them. They eventually grow into an Io Moth, a beautiful large brown and yellow moth with giant black eyespots on its wings. These eyespots look like owl eyes and can scare away birds that try to eat the Io moth.
Saddleback Moth Caterpillars (Sibine stimulea) are about 1 inch long and will eventually grow into a small brown moth. The caterpillars are bright green with brown at each end. They also have a dark brown saddle-like mark on their back and lots of tan-colored spines. These spines can sting you, so watch out!
Tussock Moth Caterpillars (Orgyia sps.) are 1 ½ inches long and eventually grow into a small brown moth. The caterpillars have light colored bodies with tufts of hair all over them. There are spots of red and blue under the hairs. Tussock moth caterpillars can eat all the leaves off of a tree very quickly. Their hairy spines will sting your skin. If you get stung, take off any clothing over the sting and wash your skin too. This makes sure no spines are sticking in the skin or clothes to keep stinging you.
Foster, Steven and Caras, Roger. Peterson Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1994.
Milne, Lorus and Margery. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects & Spiders. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
Pyle, Robert M. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
"Saddleback Caterpillar." Http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/factsheets/saddle.html. (12/15/97)
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